Tag Archives: Johnny Williams

The word is out! Duke freshman Johnny Williams can play!

[private]True Duke freshman Johnny Williams had a coming out party on Saturday where he pulled in eleven catches for 135 yards in a loss to Northwestern.  The performance earned him Rookie of the Week in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

No Blue Devil freshman has posted those kind of numbers since Walter Jones in 1988 who tallied 139 yards versus the Citadel.  "Johnny Williams is a great player.  The kid came in and worked hard in the weight room.  He was actually the only freshman here and we put him in the fire early in seven on sevens and he came along nicely," said Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis during this weeks press conference.

Williams was the first freshman on campus and learned his way around during the hot summer months.  He was a three year letter winner at St. Stephens HS in Alabama where he helped his team to a 39-4 record during his career.  He missed five games due to injury in his senior season, yet still managed 25 catches in limited action.  As a junior, Williams had 893 yards on receptions and 312 rushing.

Anyone who watched the Northwestern game would agree that Duke has landed a special player which will help build the program during his career in Durham.  Williams played with a confidence ahead of his years. 

"He's a competitor and he was telling me during the game, they can't check me, they can't stop me and if you throw it I'm going to make a play.  And he was out there making plays.  The thing is when he catches the ball he's making moves and making people miss and that's a good addition to this offense," said Lewis

Coach Cutcliffe was just as impressed with Williams play stating, "Johnny had a tremendous game.  He's a really fierce competitor.  What we are looking for more from him is consistency.  If Williams pulls in anywhere close to as many passes as he did this past weekend, it will benefit players like Eron Riley who might not draw as many double teams.

Cutcliffe went on to say that he challenged Williams and all the freshman to be all they could be during a morning practice.  "In my opinion, Johnny could have had 14 or 15 catches in that game.  He could have been a little sharper down the stretch and maybe have been national player of the week," said Cutcliffe.

Only time will tell if Williams can achieve lofty goals such as national player of the week, but if he shows the consistency the staff is looking for, there is no reason to think it can't happen.[/private]

Duke Football: Freshman of Influence

[private]I asked Coach Cutcliffe which freshman looked as if they were ready to contribute right away this season. The following is the list he gave BDN.

DB Matt Daniels #40 (6-1, 195)- "Matt Daniels looks like he will be able to contribute on defense," sad Coach Cutcliffe after a recent practice. Daniels will compete for time in the secondary. Set a single game rushing record of 348 yards while at Fayette County HS in Georgia. Tallied 268 tackles in his career and pulled in 7 interceptions.

DB Lee Butler #36 (5-10, 180)- Coach Cutcliffe also mentioned Butler as a player who could step in right away. Butler most recently had 4 tackles and cause a late fumble to seal a South Carolina victory over North Carolina in the annual Shrine Bowl which is an all star game. Had 1263 all purpose yards and 11 touchdowns last season for Westside High in Anderson, S.C.

ST, LB Trent Mackey #20 (5-10, 220)- "I expect to see Trent Mackey get some time on special teams and eventually make it at the linebacker," said Coach Cutcliffe. There has been a buzz around Mackey during early practices. Had 103 tackles, 13 for losses as a senior at Carnecro HS in Louisiana.

WR Johnny Williams #37 (5-10, 190)- "Johnny Williams has certainly set a strong pace at receiver. He's been one of our leading receivers in every scrimmage we've had," said Coach Cutcliffe. Williams is a very talented youngster capable of making big plays. He ran first team more often than not in many drills. Was a do all athlete at St. Stephens HS in Alabama. One of the true gems in the class of 2008.

RB Jay Hollingsworth #27 (5-10, 185)- With injuries to tailbacks, Hollingsworth will be depended upon to carry an early load. Looks like a pure running back in practices. Was rated the number three running back in the state by RIvals. Played his ball locally at Lee County H.S. in Sanford, North Carolina. "Hollingsworth is getting a lot of snaps at running back. We have major concerns in that area. I think that Jay continues to get himself ready to play," said Cutcliffe.

There are a handful of others who could make this list. It'll be interesting to watch the 08 guys develop as the season moves along.[/private]